MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (OCTOBER 1, 2021) — Edo de Waart, the Minnesota Orchestra’s Music Director from 1986 to 1995, returns to the podium at Orchestra Hall for concerts celebrating his 80th birthday on Thursday, October 14 at 11:00 a.m. CT and Friday, October 15 at 8:00 p.m. CT. He conducts the Orchestra in John Adams’ Tromba Lontana (Fanfare for Houston); Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D major, featuring Principal Cello Anthony Ross; and Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony—a program that allows him to showcase what made his tenure with the Orchestra so special.

Mr. de Waart’s most enduring legacy at the Minnesota Orchestra has been his heightening of the ensemble’s standard of musicianship, which his successors further cultivated. He came to Minnesota with an established international reputation as an “orchestra builder,” and many of the distinguished musicians hired during his tenure are still members of the Orchestra, including Mr. Ross, who joined in 1988 and became Principal Cello in 1991. For these celebratory performances of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D major, Mr. Ross has selected two cadenzas written by American composer Jessie Montgomery, along with one he composed himself, revising material from an earlier version by cellist Leonard Rose.

The Orchestra’s high standard of musicianship will be further, and more collectively, showcased in Dvořák’s ebullient Eighth Symphony, of which Mr. de Waart’s interpretations have won acclaim both in the concert hall and on recording (“Edo de Waart’s acute sense of tonal colour makes creative capital out of every significant key change,” Gramophone). Regarding the transformation of the Orchestra’s playing during his tenure, Mr. de Waart—at the time of his departure—said: “It’s like watching a plant grow. You get so involved in whatever goes on that you don’t see it yourself. But I do think the Orchestra plays with a lot more panache and pride now.”

The programming of John Adams’ Tromba Lontana acknowledges the enduring relationship between the composer and Mr. de Waart, including during the latter’s time in Minnesota. Over the course of his tenure, Mr. de Waart conducted the Orchestra in numerous performances of the composer’s works, including the world premiere of his Violin Concerto in 1994, though the genesis of their relationship dates back to Mr. de Waart’s earlier tenure at the San Francisco Symphony (Music Director, 1977–85), during which time he was an important early champion of Mr. Adams’ works. Tromba Lontana, meaning “distant trumpet,” is a subdued and contemplative piece that, in the words of the composer, “tak[es] a subversive point of view on the idea of the generic loud, extrovert archetype of the fanfare.” 

Mr. de Waart, who turned 80 on June 1, 2021, currently holds the positions of Principal Guest Conductor of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, Music Director Laureate of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Laureate of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor Laureate of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.


Throughout his long and illustrious career, and in addition to his current posts, renowned Dutch conductor Edo de Waart has held numerous positions with orchestras around the world, including music directorships with the Minnesota Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He was also Chief Conductor of the Santa Fe and Dutch National Operas, an Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and—early in his career—Assistant Conductor at the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein and at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Bernard Haitink. Mr. de Waart’s 2021–22 season includes performances with the Chicago, San Diego, and Milwaukee Symphonies, and the Rotterdam and Netherlands Radio Philharmonics.

As an opera conductor, Mr. de Waart has enjoyed success in a large and varied repertoire, performing at many of the world’s great opera houses. He has conducted at Bayreuth; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Grand Théâtre de Genève; Opéra Bastille; and The Metropolitan Opera, among others. With the aim of bringing opera to broader audiences where concert halls prevent full staging, he has, as Music Director in Minnesota, Milwaukee, Antwerp, and Hong Kong, often conducted operas in semi-staged and concert performances. Also a renowned orchestral trainer, he has been involved in projects working with talented young players at the Juilliard and Colburn Schools, and at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.  

Mr. de Waart’s extensive discography encompasses releases for Philips, Virgin, EMI, Telarc, and RCA. Recent recordings include Henderickx’s Symphony No. 1 and Oboe Concerto, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, all with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. He has received numerous honors for his musical achievements, including becoming a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion and an Honorary Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.


Individual tickets and Minnesota Orchestra subscription packages for the 2021–22 season are available now. Packages and tickets can be purchased at minnesotaorchestra.org. For packages, visit minnesotaorchestra.org/subscribe. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662. 

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (PCR) is required for all guests entering Orchestra Hall. Details at minnesotaorchestra.org/safety

The Minnesota Orchestra currently requires masks to be worn inside ALL locations at Orchestra Hall including the lobby, auditorium, and backstage. Masks can be removed outside of Orchestra Hall to enjoy a beverage on our patio spaces. Once entering Orchestra Hall, we require a mask for the duration of the experience. These policies remain in place until further notice.